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Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Experience With Speedlite Photography

I had a nosebleed yesterday. I attended the Speedlight Photography workshop conducted by photographer Jiggie Alejandrino of Team On Site Studio (Team OSS) at Canon’s Makati Service Center. It’s definitely NOT a workshop for beginners.

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We were around 30 participants and most of them are intermediate to advance Canon users. Most of them have their own Speedlite already and are familiar on how to use it. Nonetheless, Jiggie Alejandrino was a very good photographer and facilitator and I’ve learned a lot of new things from him regarding Speedlite photography.

We were given a 21-pages photocopied manual covering the subject of Speedlite photography. For photography newbies like me, a Speedlite is a stand-alone flash that can be attached to our DSLR (or a stand) for more powerful flashes.

The workshop is all about using Speedlite as an alternative to studio lights so that we can have outdoor photo-shoots without the need for the nearest outlet. A Speedlite can be combined with other accessories that can magnify the light giving the impression on pictures that the pictures were done in a studio.

It is very important for newbie photographers like me to learn the art of using Speedlite and not just take pictures using our DSLR as if we’re using an ordinary point-and-shoot camera. Although photography is the art of taking pictures, it would not hurt if we use Speedlite and other accessories to manipulate the light on our subjects. After all, photography is all about manipulating the light. Without light, there is no photography.

Photographer Jiggie Alejandrino discussed the pros and cons of RAW and JPEG, white balance, the importance of calibrating our monitor screens, proper exposure, the principles of light manipulation, and how to control light. Aside from ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed (which greatly affect the outcome of the picture), he taught us two things that are important to Speedlite photography: the Flash Power and Flash to Subject Distance.

He also discussed the advantage of using Canon Speedlight on our DSLR cameras because of the most recent improvement in this device: the E-TTL. According to Jiggie Alejandrino (and the way I understand it), E-TTL is a technology that auto-calculates how much flash power a Speedlite would give to obtain proper exposure. It totally eliminates the need for light meter. E-TTL is also a wireless technology that lets you control several Speedlite (using radio frequency). BTW, the latest Speedlite available on Canon’s website are the 600EX and 600EX-RT.

Speedlite-600EX

It was really a nosebleed for a newbie like me but he explained the subject very well. He even gave us practical tips during the photo shoot – how to make the model comfortable and how to focus on a model’s eyes, mouth, shoulders and neck.

The event is a whole day activity with basics and classroom discussion in the morning and practical application in the afternoon. We have the chance to try the latest Canon Speedlight as well as different products from Xfiniti. Some of us got prizes from Rapid (strap) and Transcend (SD memory).

Thank you Canon for giving me a chance to attend this remarkable workshop!

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Look at the size of this umbrella from Xfiniti. This makes the light softer on a models face

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Shot using default settings for Portrait

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This is my finish product using Manual Settings with a single Speedlite on my Canon EOS 1100D.

P.S.

According to Wikipedia, Speedlight is the brand name used by Nikon Corporation for their photographic flash units while Speedlite is the trade name for Canon's line of external flashes.

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